Short hair

This cabinet card from Gendron in Boston features a young lady, approximately aged 13, with short cut hair. I had to have this as a great example of trimmed hair on a female in the 19th century. Hair was considered a point of pride for most women, but girls were able to cut theirs. In certain extreme situations, the hair might be cut, such as a fever. It was believed that removing the hair would prevent the fever being trapped and allow the person to recover more quickly. Or, as in the case of the Gift of the Magi, a person might cut and sell their hair as it was quite valuable to wig makers and in catalog sales. We will never know why this person has shorn hair, but let us hope it was by choice.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. usermattw
    Jul 16, 2012 @ 22:04:38

    What an adorable picture. I’ve also heard that hair was sometimes shorn in those days to combat a lice infestation. But somehow this looks as if it’s a short hairstyle, rather than hair that was shaved off and is growing in, unless it has been recut and styled as it grows. A fun mystery!


  2. mousleyka
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 06:26:32

    Such clear eyes and an inscrutible gaze. I wonder what she was thinking.


  3. Far Side of Fifty Photos
    Jul 27, 2012 @ 17:58:50

    I have heard about the lice too..yucky..interesting about having a fever and cutting your hair. It is a becoming style on the young lady:)


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